Facebook likes are seen as one of the major factors which contribute to the growth of a fan page.
If a fan page has good content and good fans, there is a good chance that people will blindly follow the page and share the posts and images.
We started with Images and illustrations affecting common people on daily basis and then we did buy a few likes as well as fb ads to promote our fan page. Once it got rolling, there was no looking back.
One of the best examples I can give is The page called Garbage Bin.
The page was started in 2010 and has since then gathered 300k and is getting more and more likes everyday.
I am an admin of that page